Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

A Frugal Yankee’s Manifesto: A Nick or a Scratch is Okay if It Saves Me Money

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, November 29, 2019 @ 05: 46 PM

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“Do you have anything back in the stockroom with, um, a nick, a scratch or a blemish?”

Can me a frugal Yankee. I’m always looking for a bargain. If I can save a few bucks by buying something that’s not quite perfect, I’m happy. And that’s my modus operandi whether I’m buying a car, a pair of skis or a television.

For years, I was a bit of an oddball. After all, some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new car simply because they just love that new-car smell. (Believe it or not, Amazon sells a spray can of new-car smell for $9.99, though users have rated it a disappointing three stars.)

But more and more people are coming around to my point of view. Proof: the Association of Resale Professionals says that the sale of used goods is a $17.5 billion market in the U.S. More significantly, that market is growing at an annual rate of 15%. Meanwhile, department store revenues will fall 2% in 2019.

A customer earlier this week mentioned that she’d gone to a well-known furniture retailer to check out styles and prices before coming to FCG. “It was a ghost town in there,” she said, shaking her head. “The showroom was sparse, and the only salesman on the floor was watching a movie on his cell phone.”

Furniture Consignment Gallery‘s three large showrooms are jammed with high-end furniture and our salespeople are far too busy to while away the hours watching cat videos. They’re helping you, our customers, save thousands on luxury brands such as Henkel Harris, Lignet Roset or Roche Bobois.

There’s a major shift happening in the economy. Buying items on consignment or slightly used is good for the economy, good for the planet and good for your wallet. That’s recycling and sustainability at its best.

As the Christmas season kicks-off this weekend, FCG is offering an additional 15% off our already low prices. Even Black Friday events can’t compete with the bargains we offer at FCG.

How to Torture Millennials: Ban Smartphones at the Thanksgiving Table

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, November 22, 2019 @ 02: 35 PM

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Some of us long for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving. No, I’m not talking about going over the river and through the woods on a horse-drawn sleigh. I’m talking about a simple dinner around a table sans smartphones.

Sigh.

I realize I sound like an old fogey, but if I were POTUS – that is, President of the United States – I’d ban the use of all electronic devices once a year on Thanksgiving.

Sure, the turkey might be dry and your looney cousin may be pilfering dinner rolls to sustain him during the coming End of Times, but I think there’s still something to be treasured in a family feast. I’d like to see more families serve up real conversation with a side of crazy political fighting instead of a blue-light ghetto of internet memes and cat videos.

But that’s not likely to happen. ‘Tis the season to be wired.

For today’s millennials, going even a few hours without electronic diversion would be torture. What could be more agonizing that sitting around a dining table and conversing? Making eye contact with elderly relatives? A nightmare. Sitting in an actual chair at a table with both feet on the floor, holding utensils, rather than sprawling on a couch gripping an electronic device? The worst possible fate.

Those who have to submit to such draconian measures – like my three boys -- will scream silently for mercy. “Mom, Dad,” they’ll plead with pained facial expressions. “How much longer? Why do I have to sit here? Why are they asking me questions about sports and schoolwork? Pleeeeeeze, let me go!”

After a couple of hours of electronic deprivation, we’ll probably relent lest they fracture mentally under the stress. After all, we don’t want to do permanent damage to their psyches. I’m sure other families are similarly resigned. Maybe that’s why there’s such a binge of online buying on Black Friday.

But for a few hours, we’ve got them. We’ll force some social interaction even when they cringe in pain. And maybe someday they’ll remember what fun it was to talk to actual people over an old-fashioned meal around a real table. One can hope.

A Snafu, a Panic, a Plea, a Decision and a Victory: All This at FCG? You Bet!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, November 15, 2019 @ 06: 08 PM

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She hurried into our showroom earlier this week, and her anxiety was evident. She and her husband were selling their family home and moving to Florida, a move that had been planned down to the bubble wrap on the last teacup. Suddenly, the new buyers had hurled a wrench into the exquisitely timed moving machinery.

Everything in the house had been packed, labeled and loaded into the moving van except for the seller’s enormous bedroom set. Months ago, the buyers had agreed to buy it. At the last moment, the buyers changed their minds and wanted the set out of the house.

That was a big problem for the panicky woman in our showroom. Her bedroom set was relatively new and very expensive. She had to sell it or give it away within the next few hours. “Please,” she pleaded with me, “can you help?”

FCG encounters situations like this all the time. And while we have the greatest compassion for those who are dealing with these snafus, we still need to be selective about the furniture we accept for our showrooms. After all, that’s our promise to our customers: FCG’s showrooms will always be chockful of name-brand, nearly new, high-quality furniture. We simply can’t put old furniture on our showroom floor because someone needs to unload it in a hurry.

Still, I felt badly for this woman. Her hand shaking, she handed me her cellphone so I could scroll through the photos she’d taken of the bedroom set. Unfortunately, in her distress, she’d taken pictures that were blurry and too dark to see the set clearly. I zoomed in to try to find even a single detail that would help me determine whether to accept the set for consignment.

Then, I saw it: a tiny bit of inlaid border on the cabinetry. It suggested the set just might be a spectacular find. I made the quick decision, rare for me, to take a chance. “We’ll pick it up today,” I told the woman.

Her reaction was explosive. She jumped up and down in the middle of the store with joy, looking like she didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.

I had a sudden flashback to the 1983 NCAA basketball Championship, when a spectacular dunk in the last seconds of the game propelled North Caroline State University to victory over the Houston Cougars. The game is pure legend, in part because the winning coach leaped off the bench whooping wildly and ran around the court wildly looking for someone to hug.

She kinda’ looked like that.

Anyway, the next day our movers backed the truck up to the showroom to unload the set. I was nervous. What if my instincts were wrong? Would my last-minute decision compromise the stylish look of our showroom?

“Wow,” one of our talented associates gasped as the set was placed in the showroom. “That’s some beautiful furniture!”

At that news, it was my turn to act like the winning coach, the late great Jim Valvano, whose reaction after that game radiated pure joy to everyone lucky enough to be watching. I jumped up, pumping my fist in the air, looking for someone to high five. Victory is so sweet.

FCG Celebrates the Heroes of American Liberty and the Veterans Who Protect It

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, November 08, 2019 @ 03: 56 PM

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From his condo, perched on the edge of Fort Point Channel, I could see he had an extraordinary view of the place where Boston’s colonists began their fight for liberty in 1773. I pulled into his driveway and he waved me enthusiastically up to his porch.

“Ovah thaya,” he gestured, his accent as thick as a good lobster chowda’. “That’s where it began - the Tea Pahty.”

He gestured to the exact spot where the Sons of Liberty tossed chests of tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation. The Brits were furious, the old man chuckled, not only at the insolence of the colonists but also at the loss of a valuable commodity. You know how Brits are about their tea.

Today, more than two centuries after that brouhaha (or should I say brew-haha), a tugboat is docked where the tea-laden three-masted ships once lay at anchor. Cars whizzed by on the Seaport Boulevard. On the green lawns of the Children’s Wharf Park, moms chatted while their kids played.

Standing on that porch with the older gentleman gave me pause. Like the colonists of 1773, today’s servicemen and service women fight for our liberties. They put their lives on the line for us and for all our nation stands for. They are our heroes.

After a few moments of reflection with the old man, I turned to the job at hand: evaluating his furniture for consignment. He and his wife are pulling up their anchor and heading for new shores.

Unlike the Brits, they are leaving Fort Point Channel on their own volition. That is, they were enjoying their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, thanks to the armed forces who protect our country. To celebrate, we are proudly running our 15% of Veterans Day Sale now through Tuesday, November 12.

A Millennial Walked into FCG, and Discovered a World of Sustainability (She Also Took a Selfie)

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, November 01, 2019 @ 07: 41 PM

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Indignantly, she shoved her cell phone at me after she’d scrolled through a thousand doe-eyed selfies to find a photo of the four-poster bed she needed to sell, ASAP. After all, she was moving tomorrow. She and her bed had to be out of the apartment by noon. “I got 400 hits on Facebook,” she said, “and not a single buyer!”

It was a tale of woe, millennial-style. One of her potential buyers showed up and really liked the bed, but he’d have to borrow his mom’s mini-van in order to move it. Sadly, Mom lived in another state. Another thought it was perfect until he asked if she had proof that the wood had been sustainably sourced and made by an artisan who earned at least a minimum wage with benefits.

“It’s a family heirloom,” she snarled. “How the heck would I know? These randos* wasted my time!” (Rando: a millennial term for an unknown person, especially one who is odd, suspicious or engaged in awkward behavior.)

I’m not sure what annoyed this young woman more: her immature peers or the fact that she’d discovered one thing that couldn’t be accomplished by social media, that is, sell her furniture. She might never forgive Facebook.

Ah, millennials. There are 80 million of them born between 1981 and 1996. They’ve got a bad reputation as spoiled by helicopter parents, undisciplined and overly dependent on technology. But they are also lauded for being socially conscious.

FCG would have loved to help our millennial customer, but our delivery trucks were fully scheduled for the day and she’d run out of time to sell that problematic bed. She stuffed her phone into her pocket and wandered away. But I did see her looking at some of the furniture and check the price tags approvingly in the showroom as she made her way to the exit.

Maybe she’ll think about consignment when she settles into her new home. After all, our pre-owned furniture is exactly the eco-conscious solution that millennials want in their food, homes and furniture.

Come Play! Our Stores Are Loaded with Terrific Bargains This Week

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 25, 2019 @ 08: 13 PM

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While trying to have a conversation with my neighbor, I was interrupted over and over by the incessant squeaking of an oversized tennis ball next to me. The culprit: Roxie, my six-year-old Boxer. Ball in mouth, she was glaring at me as if to say “Play with me - now!”

What a diva!

Roxie had had no interest in chasing a ball all summer; it was too hot to move most of the time. When I had tried to get her to play, she’d stand beside me, watching the ball roll to a stop with complete disinterest.

But fall’s crisp air was like a shot of adrenaline for Roxie. Her body wriggled and her jowls were flapping with excitement. To prove her readiness, she dashed around the front yard kicking up divots tidily. She was finally in the mood.

Like Roxie, our customers are recovering from a kind of retail lassitude. After all, who wants to think about cozy evenings around the fireplace or brunch in the dining room when you can fire up the grill and throw on a burger?

Now, the chill in the air has stirred our customers’ attention. After all, Thanksgiving is just a month away and our showrooms are stuffed with all the fixings for a fine feast.

The lazy days of summer are over. Your nest needs a little primping; the time is now. Our three stores are loaded with goodies and the best stuff always goes first.

Last week’s storm and a software upgrade have left our website with some kinks. As a result, we’re a little behind schedule posting all the new inventory this week. Rest assured, though, our stores are crammed with lots of high-quality furniture at bargain prices.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and Let’s Agree That It’s All Pretty Much Small Stuff

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 18, 2019 @ 04: 26 PM

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A sharp wind whipped into my bedroom through the open window, rousing me from a sound sleep. A few minutes later, I heard sirens in the distance. Then, the fan fell silent. “There goes the power,” I thought groggily before falling back to sleep. “Must be a big storm.”

By the next morning, the storm had blown through eastern Massachusetts and was on its way up the coast to Maine. Surveying the damage, I noticed a big tree in our backyard had fallen into the neighbor’s yard, crushing the fence between us. Then, my phone started jangling nervously with incoming texts. “Terrible news!” said the message from our staffers in Natick. “A tree branch fell, damaging the dumpster behind the store.”

For all the hype from the weather service about a horrendous “bomb cyclone” tearing up New England, the actual damage for us was pretty minor. We had no fires, no flooding and no damage that would force us to close our three stores. We swept up the debris in the parking lot in Natick, then opened the store as usual.

What is it with the heightened drama these days? Every storm seems to be historic or record-shattering in some way. Every dispute seems overblown. Yet, life goes on much as it has over the years. Let’s be pragmatic: life brings us challenges, large and small. Can we all agree not to over-react?

Sometimes, during a delivery, a piece of furniture slides when the truck hits a bump in the road. Minor damage, minor problem. Every now and then, a clumsy customer knocks over a lamp in the showroom. Again, minor problem. There are customers who freak out when the delivery truck is a few minutes late because of traffic. I don’t see that as an impeachable offense.

Most of the problems we encounter in the course of the day are easily solved. Let’s try to keep things in perspective, folks. The bomb cyclone was nothing more than a frisky fall storm; the fallen tree branch didn’t endanger any lives in Natick. We at FCG are here to enhance our customers’ homes and lifestyles. Take it easy out there.

Robbie Charts His Own Course in the World – and at the Cross-Country Meet

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 11, 2019 @ 06: 30 PM

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The Frucci family has its fair share of athletic talents, but the ability to run like a gazelle isn’t one of them. And, yet, I found myself standing on the sidelines at a middle-school cross-country race the other day cheering on my son, Robbie.

Perhaps Robbie thought there was a running gene just waiting to be discovered in our family DNA. That’s doubtful, but I commend his optimism. In any case, I was there to cheer him on.

Crack! The gun went off, and a pack of about a hundred pre-teens dashed across the field and into the woods. We parents held our collective breath for a few minutes, waiting. Moments later, the fastest runners burst from the forest, heading for the finish line.

The crowd went wild. Parents, siblings and classmates clapped and cheered as more and more runners emerged from the woods. They came in little clusters, fighting for a spot at the head of the pack. Still, no Robbie.

Minutes ticked by, and a few last straggler charged out of the woods, but the crowd’s enthusiasm was waning. Frankly, I was getting concerned, too. Had Robbie gotten lost on the trail? Had he done battle with some wild animal in there? Hmmmm, I reassured myself, that isn’t likely in these suburbs.

Just about all the runners had crossed the line when Robbie finally appeared out on the horizon. His arms were flailing as he gasped for air. His feet were dragging, but he staggered across the finish line to wild applause, namely, mine. He was hot, sweaty, tired and happy. He’d accomplished something no one in the family had done to date: he’d discovered the grit to run and finish the race.

Let’s celebrate all the explorers and voyagers who make our country great this long weekend. In fact, you can start an exploration of your own online or in our three stores. And to celebrate your journey, we’ll take 10% off your purchase.

When you shop with FCG, you never know what treasures lie ahead. Chart your course to visit one or all of our locations. And watch out for a red-headed eleven-year-old sprinter. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of his journey.

When Boston’s Big Spenders Redecorate, FCG Gets a Windfall of Fine Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 04, 2019 @ 06: 31 PM

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“Yikes!” I said to the interior designer, incredulous. “Someone actually paid $1,200 for a pair of pillows?”

“Well,” she replied with a shrug, “they are nice pillows.”

Nice, yes. Each down pillow was made with a cream-colored linen cover, trimmed with two bands of green. Still, $1,200 seemed a tad over the top. Neither pillow had ever been used, and now the designer’s client wanted to sell them for reasons unknown.

What price will those pillows command on the resale market? After more than a decade in the consignment business, I can make that assessment with confidence: $100, or less than a tenth of the original price.

I’m rarely surprised by homeowners’ extravagance but every now and then there’s a shocker. Earlier this week, another client wanted to consign some furniture. She sent me copies of her receipts to show how much she’d paid for the items: $12,000 for a three-cushion sofa, $10,000 for a pair of swivel chairs, $28,000 for a custom rug.

Sometimes, it’s tough to be the one to break the news to these big spenders that they may recoup only a fraction of what they spent on their home furnishings. The sky-high prices they paid reflect the many hours they spent with their designers creating breathtaking custom looks for their homes. The special welting? The trim that matched the wallpaper imported from France? They’ll be fortunate to get pennies back on the dollars they spent – in some cases, only a few months ago.

Our customers appreciate quality, but they also are hunting for bargains. Someone will snatch up that three-cushion sofa, grateful to find such a treasure at FCG. “I love this store,” a well-groomed women said to me the other day while browsing our store in Natick. “Someone with absolutely exquisite taste and a big budget did all the work for me – and they paid for the privilege! Now, I get to enjoy this amazing furniture in my home.”

Dad’s Rules of Smart Investing: Just Say No to Depreciating Assets

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 27, 2019 @ 06: 59 PM

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“So, Dad…”

When I hear that long hesitant phrase emanating from my sixteen-year-old son, I know that we’re going to be having one of those conversations. No, no, not one of those! What I mean is we’re going to have a talk that requires a response both deeply philosophical and impeccably logical. As in, “why do I have a curfew? Don’t you trust me, Dad?”

These kinds of questions demand that a father summon his most commanding presence and his deepest voice because the inquirer is seeking to upset the natural order of the universe, as defined by a Dad. When I hear that phrase, I brace myself and take a few deep, slow breaths to buy some time.

“So, Dad,” the fledgling lad continued. “When are you going to trade your car in?” He added eagerly, “Did you see the new Silverado?”

Okay, I will admit the question was not unexpected. My trusty Toyota just busted a mileage milestone: 180,000 miles. That vehicle has hauled more than a few special pieces of furniture from one store to another. And it has carried my boys and their pals to ball games all over town.

Why, the question alone makes me nostalgic! I’ve run a lot of red lights in that car trying to get my three sons where they need to be on time. Maybe it is starting to show its age, but I feel as though the car has just been broken-in. I’m comfortable in it. The last thing I need in my life is a new car.

Fortunately, this kind of question gives me the opportunity to hold forth at length on Dad’s Theories of Economics, the section on depreciating assets. My impressionable understudy is going to get an earful.

“Furniture!” I exclaim, “is always a worthy investment! A car is not.”

Furniture, I tell him, is the key to making a house a home, and a home is always a good investment. Ancient civilizations recognize the importance of furniture. After all, feng shui is all about energy, invisible forces and harmony to soothe the soul. New cars don’t offer the same spiritual solace. And, with three boys, we can’t even keep the new-car smell for more than a couple of weeks!
My son wandered off, crestfallen. Clearly, I’d won this round, but I expect the question will come up again when the odometer hits 200,000. But, rest assured, I’ll be prepared.